Army and Securitate

Soldiers in the
Timisora riots
Military High
The girl student probably took the shooting
test she mentioned at a military high school, one of three in the
country. Students are counted and trained as soldiers as part of
their high school education, and they were issued uniforms (the
“army clothes” she mentions wanting to put on.) Students are then
assessed according to their skill level and placed in the
protective services (fire, basic police, etc.), army, or
Securitate. Think of these schools as a combined police and
military academy, with a Quantico level of surveillance training
for the “officer’s school” of the Securitate that Cladu mentions.
Secrecy and National Pride Being part
of the army was a sign of pride until they were seen quelling
rebellion in Timişoara, but Securitate members were
supposed to keep their professions a secret. (They quelled some
rebellions themselves in the Jiu Valley and Brasov, and their
methods were just as decisive, if harder to trace. Deportation,
career destruction, and murder disguised as suicide rather than
mutilated bodies that could be photographed.) This secrecy allowed
the Securitate to move about their districts and report without
arousing suspicion, though some of them were not very good at
hiding their walkie talkies and the identity of some Securitate
members was an unintentional open secret, or intentional in the
case of Securitate recruiters. The army was a vital part
of Ceauşescu’s systemization plan, and they spent a lot of
time helping build new apartment buildings and developing farmland.
(This role of the military is similar to the “nation building”
American troops have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, building
roads and power grids, improving irrigation, but sometimes against
the wishes of the locals.) Lovers Friendly
Fire and Moving to the Side of the People
The revolution was not a good time for the army. The chain of
command was fractured by the suspicious death of Vasile Milea, the
Minister of Defense. Ceauşescu claimed that Milea has killed
himself after being fired for treason but many believe that he
hesitated to fire on the protestors and this hesitation was met
with violence. Friendly fire killed about half of the soldiers
who died in the ensuing chaos as they tried to fight the
terroristi. (A group of cadets were sent to
the airport as reinforcements as the rest of the city celebrated
victory but the soldiers who were already there didn’t know they
were coming and fired on them, killing 48.) As the protests spread
around Bucharest, Ceauşescu appointed Victor Stănculescu
to succeed Milea, but Stănculescu secretly ordered the army to
stand down. He suggested that Ceauşescu flee the city by
helicoptor. This suggestion made him a fugitive and may have sealed
his fate. Who Was Shooting on the
After the Brasov
Rebellion in 1987, Ceauşescu was so frightened by the quick
spread of discontent in Romania’s second largest city that he
signed an executive order to form an urban warfare division of the
Securitate. They were told the location of stores of weapons,
ammunition, and other supplies, and were given maps that allowed
them to move underground between government buildings. The
exploding bullets that are discussed in Part III may be part of the
urban warfare initiative. We will probably never really know
though, because both Communist Romanian forces and victorious
protestors burned governments records.

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